Sunday, February 18, 2007

Good Vibrations in Chimayo

Torrential rain followed Ellen and me from Santa Fe to Chimayó, leaving six-inch puddles on the highway. Waves of water slapped against the windshield as each vehicle passed. Hillside runoff in the tiny town created deep pools stained with red mud.

We finally arrived at Santuario de Chimayó, a tiny antique chapel reputed for miraculous healings. Visitors prayed silently in the sanctuary. An anteroom housed several dozen discarded crutches. Religious artifacts lined the walls of a second anteroom where a dusty border of red brick encircled a hole in the floor, filled with a pile of dirt and a small trowel.

We next stopped for lunch at Rancho de Chimayó, a 40-year-old family-run restaurant, where we ate what Ellen called the best meal we’d had during our four-day trip. For the first time since our journey began, she felt like a million bucks. And then the vibrations began. I felt them from touching the blade of Ellen’s knife as she held the handle. She realized she had inadvertently stepped into sacred dirt in the floor of Sanctuario de Chimayó, and the chapel’s miraculous powers seemed very real.

We finished lunch and headed towards Taos. Tentative sunshine pierced the clouds and gradually brightened. A magnificent rainbow arched across several miles, with the highway as as midpoint, a beautiful finale to a memorable afternoon.